Are your teams healthy? It’s an important question for HR leaders and front-line managers to ask themselves regularly.
That’s because healthy teams are productive teams.
But we aren’t talking about physical health here. Teams that are healthy in social, emotional and collaborative ways perform at peak levels.
Researchers looked at what makes healthy teams. Here’s what they found, plus tips on getting there.
Share a positive attitude
The leader’s positive attitude is the top predictor of a successful team. It might be difficult to keep a chin up if one person isn’t performing up to par or is generally miserable. But leaders still set the tone for even the most reluctant.
A few tips:
- Celebrate progress. Don’t wait to just recognize and reward successes. Those don’t happen as often as positive progress toward the bigger goal.
- Lighten up. Share funny or inspiring stories and messages at least weekly with your team. You might explain how it relates to them. Ask team members to share similar ideas.
Confer for decision-making
Leaders who involve the group in decisions that affect them build better, healthier teams.
That doesn’t mean you need to get consensus or let majority rule every time you’re at a crossroads.
Instead, leaders of healthy teams:
- Talk early. Let employees know about potential changes well ahead of implementation.
- Explain how they can influence decisions and give them time to offer insight and feedback.
- Confirm quickly. Let employees know about decisions they were involved in and those that affect them as quickly as possible. Explain what could and couldn’t be done based on their input. And let them share thoughts on the final decision.
While most employees bemoan more meetings, people on healthy teams believe part of their success can be contributed to meetings.
But not just any meeting. Leaders who have regular, purpose-driven, efficient meetings get the job done right.
So ask yourself before you meet:
- Can the information be shared or decision made in an email?
- What are three priorities to be achieved for this meeting?
- What do I need to share before we meet so we can accomplish everything within 30 minutes?
Be willing to help
Leaders who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get the work done side-by-side with employees produce healthy teams, researchers found.
Of course, you can’t – and shouldn’t – do it all the time. Instead, leaders want to lead and empower.
- Give employees low-risk choices to make when working alone. You build confidence. They gain autonomy, and
- Treat failure fairly. If employees work hard and fall short, turn it into a learning opportunity, with eyes toward the next success.